Of all her college experiences, Martine Ciccio says that reading to preschoolers through a University service program may have had the most significant impact on her future plans.

Through Jumpstart, a program that partners college students with low-income preschoolers, Ciccio has helped young children build language, literacy and social skills.

“Jumpstart ignited this ever-growing fiery passion within me that refuses to quit. I never thought preschool could be so empowering,” says Ciccio.

“When I think about the person I was when I entered college, and the person I am now, I’m shocked at how much I’ve changed,” she says. “Jumpstart has changed my entire world view. I’m more holistic in my thinking; my career goals have shifted from self-centered to service-centered; and I’m much happier working through the University’s S.O.U.L.S. Community Engagement Center.”

Ciccio has engaged in service all her life, but she says Jumpstart has had the most significant impact of all her activities.

Some of her closest friendships grew from campus activities, and she encourages other students to engage in campus life.

“Being involved allows you to meet like-minded people whom you can truly bond and collaborate with,” says Ciccio. “Whenever I walk into S.O.U.L.S. I feel at home. It is a sanctuary of passionate idealists who work every day to make the change that they know is possible.”

Ciccio, a senior environmental studies major and faculty assistant for service-learning classes, recently was named the S.O.U.L.S. Center for Community Engagement’s Volunteer of the Month.

In addition to serving as a dedicated Jumpstart Team Leader, she has led two Alternative Spring Break trips and participated in Alternative Winter Break in El Salvador.

In addition, Ciccio spends a significant amount of time volunteering with other organizations such as Groundwork Somerville, Environment Massachusetts and Boston Youth Environmental Network.